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February 23, 2000

Tiger Woods


LEE PATTERSON: We appreciate you joining us. Good start to this year's World Golf Championships - Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about your match today.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I knew going into today's match it was going to be a good match. Michael obviously has been playing pretty well. And I knew if I could get off to a good, solid shot, hit a lot of shots in there tight and hopefully make a couple of putts, I could put the pressure on him and get up early and hopefully maintain it. That's what I was able to do today.

Q. Tiger, you talk a lot about motivation, but I'm wondering if you could talk about, based on how you've played lately, which isn't up to your standard, if there's extra motivation going out there to, say, everybody is talking about Campbell, and how "It's me and him; let's show who it is"?

TIGER WOODS: Michael has obviously been playing well of late. And I just hope everybody didn't forget I've been playing good for the same stretch. So even though I didn't play as well as I'd like last week, the only thing I was really missing was my putter. If I would have made a few putts, I would have been right in the ballgame last week. But I'm playing better now, putting better. I knew that if I played my own game, put pressure on Michael, things should be all right in the end.

Q. Could you talk about, go inside just a little bit and talk about your competitiveness, and tell us if you could, you're the No. 1 player in the world, something is talking about somebody No. 65, being on par with you?

TIGER WOODS: Obviously he's playing well, and that's what people are looking at. This game is a high level in which anyone playing well can beat any guy out here on Tour at any given time. And especially with the 18 holes, it's not that long. So you have to actually really play well. With the conditions the way they were, it suited my game a little better than his. I'm able to hit the ball further, because I carry the ball further on soft ground. And I just noticed a couple of times out there, his pitch shots, he didn't quite have the feel for them, because of playing in Australia, the ground is so hard and so fast down there that he came out throwing a lot of his pitch shots. I felt if I could just keep putting heat on him, everything should be okay.

Q. You mentioned getting off to a quick start. Obviously the way you did, did you feel immediately that you -- you got off birdie, birdie -- that was critical in this match to kind of let him know what he was up against?

TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't say the birdie -birdie start was critical. But the critical part was I made the par-putt on 5. I think that was huge. I just left a birdie par on 3 right in the middle of the hole about three inches short of the hole, and made a good par-putt on 4, and he missed, and he didn't want to get right back by making bogey, I put that one in the middle of the hole. And the next hole we both messed up. But I think the putt on 5 was a big putt, because I didn't want to have him gain momentum after just losing it, by 3-putting the previous hole.

Q. Given the way you relish match play, can you talk about what it would mean for you to get through the week and win this, kind of on the food chain of tournaments? It's not a major, obviously, but just the match play factor?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I've had a pretty good record in match play, and this tournament is something I thoroughly like to play, there's no doubt about it. Anytime we get a chance to play match play, I like it. We play so many stroke-play events all year-round, it's nice to play something a little different. This is what we grew up playing in amateur golf. That's all we do is play match play. And it's nice to actually get a chance to do it at this level, as well. Other than playing Ryder Cups and The Presidents Cup.

Q. Not a lot of momentum changes in this match, was there?

TIGER WOODS: No, because I made a couple of key putts. I was able to hold him off because of that.

Q. Would you run down that 5th hole, what happened?

TIGER WOODS: I hit a driver to the left side, I had a 3-iron in my hand and my foot slipped a little bit and hit it fat -- chipped up to about ten feet and buried it right in the middle of the hole. And he had a putt from about 2 feet, and I gave it to him.

Q. I know that you obviously focus on your game an awful lot. Did you feel him pressing a little bit when you went to 3-up for 4?

TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't necessarily say pressing. I knew that he wasn't -- if you look at his shots for the first four or five holes, they weren't as sharp as he'd like to have them. If I could keep putting pressure on, keep putting pressure on by driving the ball in the fairway -- and the problem was that he was hitting first most of the day. And he wasn't hitting the ball in there tight by hitting first, to put pressure on me. And that gave me a free run at some of my iron shots. I tried to take advantage of that. But on the par-3s, I was able to hit fours, so I tried to put pressure on him that way. But most of the day he was hitting first, and wasn't quite as sharp as he's been the last couple of weeks.

Q. Would you like to have had more of a challenge?


Q. Tiger, your putting has been, last week your putting wasn't so good. It's better today. Did you do something different? And how much can you take out of a day like today, anyway?

TIGER WOODS: I have changed a little bit. I went back to some of the things that we've been working on over the past couple of years. I just kind of got away from it just because the greens were not very good last week. There were so many guys 3-putting and 4-putting last week. It's pretty amazing how many guys 4-putted last week. I know of 7 guys that 4-putted last week, and one 5-putt. So I know it wasn't just me. But I wasn't rolling the ball on top of the grass the way I'd like to. It wasn't getting off the top and rolling and holding a slide. If you really do roll it well, it's going to hold its line. I wasn't doing that last week. I went back to releasing the blade a little better, and I was getting the ball rolling better today.

Q. How tough are the conditions out there?

TIGER WOODS: Look at it now. I don't think they're going to finish play today, that's for sure, if it keeps up like this.

Q. Tiger, I know you like the format of match play. Do you see yourself looking ahead for the bracket, or do you focus on your opponent?

TIGER WOODS: You have to look at it one match at a time. It doesn't matter who's in the bracket, because if you lose to your opponent, who cares? You're going home, and everybody is still playing in your bracket. So you have to take care of business when you have to take care of business.

Q. Do you like it more because it's almost like it's a Sunday for four straight days? And I know --?

TIGER WOODS: Five days. Well, I like it for the fact that -- we don't get a chance to play one-on-one very often. And in a tournament situation in a stroke-play event, we play 3 and a half days, and you might have a one-on-one situation in the final group. Very rarely, though. It's usually a couple of groups ahead, somebody shoots a good number, and all of a sudden someone behind tries to win the tournament. It's very rare that two guys separate themselves where they play all 18 holes one-on-one. It's only those two guys in the field playing head-to-head. So it's nice to have that feeling of playing one-on-one.

Q. Tiger, last year at this point, your game was still coming together. What would you have rated it then on a one-to-ten, and what would you rate it now on a one-to-ten?

TIGER WOODS: It's a lot better now.

Q. No A game, B game for you today?

TIGER WOODS: Or percentages.

Q. Tiger, did you call each other last night to coordinate your clothing?

TIGER WOODS: No, I wore black socks.

Q. Considering the danger of match play in general, regardless of who you are playing, is there any sense of relief to just have this one behind you, and does that help as far as your mindset from now on?

TIGER WOODS: It's always nice to not only win your first-round match, but to play well in the first-round match. That obviously gives you a little bit of confidence going into your next match that you went out there and won your match; the guy didn't give it to you. And considering how well Michael has been playing, to go out there and play as well as I did, I feel I really did play well.

LEE PATTERSON: Give us the details of your birdies.

TIGER WOODS: First hole, I hit it in the left rough; hit out a pitching wedge to about 8 feet -- sorry, 10 feet and made that. The second hole, I hit a driver and a sand wedge -- driver, 6-iron to about 18 feet and 2-putted. 9, I hit a driver and a 3-wood over the green. I pitched up to about 15 feet and made that. 11, I hit a driver, 3-wood, pitched up to about two and a half feet, he conceded. And on -- that was 12. 13, hit a driver and a 7-iron to about 3 feet. He made five, I conceded my three.

Q. Is that the only bogey?


Q. Tiger, I know you take this obviously one match at a time. But how do you feel that the two highest seeded players in the bracket, Nick Price and Phil Mickelson are done?

TIGER WOODS: When you play match play at this level, it doesn't matter what the seeding is. You could have a champion that would be No. 64, but because the guys are so good at this level, with 18 holes anything can happen. That the -- once you start playing at this level and in this tournament, the seeds, you can throw them out the door. It was proven last year that it really doesn't matter what you're seeded.

LEE PATTERSON: Thank you, we appreciate it.

End of FastScripts...

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